Blog & News

Be sure to check out Penda's monthly eNewsletter for April, 2017 - hot off the press! Read about Penda's new product features, enhancements, content, implementation ideas, teacher spotlight.

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Lots of teachers write in to ask about how they can create student incentives and challenges to help drive usage and get maximum results with students using Penda. Penda's Implementation & Support Services Team put together some simple DOs and DONTs to support teachers (and schools) in executing successful student competitions/challenges.

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DOs:

- Student Choice - keep in mind that while some students are extrinsically motivated, other students are driven intrinsically so striking a balance is key! Give students a choice to opt in or out for a competition/challenge. Not all students are motivated by peer competition, but might still want to have their own independent competition - comparing their progress and scores against top performing students.

- Know Your Penda Data - take time to explore your teacher account to fully understand what data is available to you through the leaderboard (class and student tab) and via detailed Report views. This preparation will help you implement and execute your competition/challenge with ease and avoid frustration when it comes to pulling or analyzing data - there's nothing worse than starting a competition/challenge, only to realize you can't get the data you were hoping or wanting. For example, the leaderboard class points tab resets each month to promote competition, while the student tab shows total points earned by students since the beginning of the academic year. Currently, class points are not logged for each month, and date range filters cannot be applied. Thus, teachers must export class points on the last day on the month before the class tabs reset, if they wish to use this data.

- Quality Over Quantity! In using Penda, the goal is for students to complete the activities with accuracy, so be sure to frame your challenge/competition around completing activities with a minimum score of X% (we recommend 80%). Create a competition that focuses on "green activities" (green = mastery, 80%+).

- Whole Picture - consider holistic usage, taking into consideration task hours, average score on review activities, amount of time outside of school (4:00pm - 7:00am) **since it's outside of school, this truly is independent practice, total class points as presented on the leaderboard at the given time. Items 1, 2, and 3 listed can be found easily through your teacher account under "Reports - detailed," using the yellow status bar across the top of right pane.

- Stick To The Plan - develop a competition with clear start and end dates, competition factors, and incentives then stick to it! Consider starting competitions/challenges on the first of the month and ending on the last day of the month. By doing so, you'll be able to easily monitor competition data points, such as the leaderboard (keep in mind the leaderboard class tab resets each month).

-Visual, Visual, Visual - make a conscious effort to promote your competition/challenge visually. Reserve whiteboard/wall space to chart progress and recognize students. Display class points and update regularly to keep competitive spirits ignited. Recognize students throughout the competition/challenge period through verbal praise (MVP of the week, most improved of the week, etc) and whiteboard/wall space where student names can be placed onto once they reach certain thresholds.

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DON'Ts

- Don't mandate that every student must participate. Instead, gain student buy-in.

- Don't focus only on total student points or number of activities completed. Instead, focus on quality of work (scores, mastery level, color indicator)

- Don't change the competition mid-stream, changing the target, start/stop dates, or incentives. Instead, stick with the plan full steam ahead.

- Don't expect students to be excited about the competition/challenge, if you aren't.

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Have you had success with a Penda competition/challenge in your classroom or school? We'd love to hear what made it a success, your list of DOs and DON'Ts, and learn from expert Penda teachers in the field. Write us via email at Support@PendaLearning.com to share your competition/challenge experience.

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CREATE YOUR OWN PENDA ACTIVITIES WITH PENDA SHARE!

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Penda infuses gamification and game mechanics to authentically engage students' emotionally during learning. Students complete each Penda activity from start to finish and are awarded points based upon their achievement. Student receive points for their efforts in completing the activity as well as points for answering questions correctly on their first attempt. While students can complete any activity as many times as they wish for practice, they only earn points during their first three attempts.

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POINTS EARNED FROM EACH ACTIVITY:

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March CONTENT Madness at Penda Learning! Just deployed on March 26, 2017:

• Improvements to FL MAFS & NGSSS Penda activity alignments

• Activity improvements to 30 science and 10 math activities commenced in January 2017. As ongoing work, Penda Learning’s Content Development Team regularly evaluates activities for alignment to state standards, activity design, content accuracy, question complexity/rigor, and multiple response mechanisms that align to computer-based high stakes assessments. Activity improvements are being made to keep Penda’s library relevant and up-to-date. The first set of 40 improved activities were released on March 26, 2017.

• 43 new science activities were created by Penda Learning and...

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As a teacher you have your own way of approaching different topics in the curriculum. That’s why we’ve created Penda SHARE — a teacher-friendly tool that allows you to create your very own Penda activities. Use Penda SHARE to adapt existing materials and create your own activities customized to your classes. Published activities can then be assigned to classes or specific intervention groups. Choose to share an activity with other teachers within your school or with any other Penda Learning school.

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What you can do with SHARE:

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Penda Learning's Founder, David Jaffa, is joining Penda's CEO, Corey J. Peloquin, for a week-long tour throughout Florida. With Penda's largest footprint in Florida, the two will be meeting with district supervisors, school administrators, academic coaches, and classroom math and science teachers to see how Penda is performing for each of them. Site-based coaches and classroom teachers plan to share how Penda is impacting teaching and learning, anecdotal impact on student achievement so far this year, and student feedback on using Penda. During these collaborative discussions, each user group will get a chance to hear about the various improvements and enhancements that have been released during the 2016 - 2017 academic year, both produc...

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Encourage students to take notes while completing a Penda activity screen-by-screen. This process will help students digest information more thoroughly while identifying both known and unknown vocabulary, main ideas, supporting details, and key concepts. Students can then use their notes when attempting the activity over again to try and achieve a higher score. Writing within the content area also supports ELA standards and is proven to positively impact retention of information.

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View & Download Penda's Student Note-Taking Guide Templates

- 2-Column Notes

- Cornell Notes

- CER (claim, evidence, reasoning) Notes

- Metacognitive Notes

Scenario:

One senior high school in Miami, FL. continues to be concerned about their high school biology EOC and algebra EOC pass rate. Teachers are interested in providing targeted EOC prep review for their students. Each teacher reviews grade-level formative assessment data and state DOE item specs, resulting in a list of standards ranked from lowest to highest performing. The school’s science and math coach have gone to PendaLearning.com and identified Penda activities that support the standards identified with ease. Each coach organizes the Penda activities onto a calendar, with 3 – 4 Penda activities assigned to students per week. Teachers encourage students to complete the assigned Penda activities, with challenges and ...

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